NEARING AUTOBIOGRAPHY Pattiann Rogers
Those are my bones rifted
and curled, knees to chin,
among the rocks on the beach,
my hands splayed beneath my skull
in the mud. Those are my rib
bones resting like white sticks
wracked on the bank, laid down,
delivered, rubbed clean
by river and snow.
Ethereal as seedless weeds
in dim sun and frost, I see
my own bones translucent as locust
husks, light as spider bones,
as filled with light as lantern
bones when the candle flames.
And I see my bones, facile,
willing, rolling and clacking,
reveling like broken shells
among themselves in a tumbling surf.
I recognize them, no other's,
raggedly patterned and wrought,
peeled as a skeleton of sycamore
against gray skies, stiff as a fallen
spruce. I watch them floating
at night, identical lake slivers
flush against the same star bones
drifting in scattered pieces above.
Everything I assemble, all
the constructions I have rendered
are the metal and dust of my locked
and storied bones. My bald cranium
shines blind as the moon.From Eating Bread and Honey, published by Milkweed Editions, 1997. Copyright © 1997 by Pattiann Rogers. All rights reserved. Used with permission.